Updates from College in Midst of the Pandemic
What remained common was that communication was clear, student queries were being addressed and feedback was considered to make the transition to online education as smooth as possible.
As cases of Coronavirus increased in India, educational institutions took a leap to contain any further spread. On March 12, two days before colleges were supposed to reopen after the semester break, Delhi University declared an extension, closing all institutes till March 31, which was further extended to April 14 after the announcement of a nationwide lockdown. As many classes had syllabus, assignments and tests left to be covered in the month and a half before semester examinations started, teachers were quick to adapt to the crisis. After a meeting, they announced a plan of covering syllabus for their respective subjects.
By March 15, teachers had begun communicating with students through WhatsApp groups and sending reading material and assignments via email. As teaching styles differ in the classroom, so did they in the way teachers adapted to the online transition. While some teachers took to webinars to cover essential topics in real time and take doubts, others sent recorded video lectures and presentations for students to cover on their own schedule while being open to doubts and calls. What remained common was that communication was clear, student queries were being addressed and feedback was considered to make the transition to online education as smooth as possible. Although students were initially overwhelmed with keeping up with the lectures, assignments and especially online tests; like any learning curve, overtime students grew more comfortable with the concept. Classroom teaching when compared to online lectures definitely have their own advantages, but as Ms. Sandra Suresh puts it, “With physical college being closed, students save time usually lost in travel and other distractions between classes so they can now make best use of this time studying without unnecessary breaks. The key is discipline.”
CDC also prepares as previously scheduled companies on campus revisit the dates and mode of interviews. One member puts, “Although the shift came suddenly, we tried to make sure that students are informed and
opportunities keep flowing.” For hostel students, the pandemic brought complications with respect to social distancing, as the university had declared extended break to avoid students accumulating in the same space, and having hostel rooms occupied defeated the purpose. Another hurdle were international students who, having foreign travel forfeited, had only the hostel to call home. Aditi Yadav, a first year hostel resident talks about the transition, “We received the notice that college will remain shut till March 31st but no particular guideline about hostel rules. Hostellers living in and near Delhi, including myself, did not have as big a problem as certain outstation and international students who were considering staying till the duration of the extended break. Amit Sir (boys hostel warden) personally talked to students about how it was safer to leave which cleared a lot of people’s apprehensions. In hindsight, it was great that he talked to us as the lockdown that followed would have forced us in hostels and put us all at risk.”
Although, thankfully people left in time, international students were forced to stay, things could have gotten worse were they living in a crowded hostel. As of now, around four students are still residing in the hostel, all of them international students. While not at risk, the fear of living away from family, with no one around does take a toll on a person. Ali, a first year student from Kenya shared his experience still living in the hostel, “The environment is just as expected, quiet, boring. Nevertheless, half a loaf is better than none. Thankfully the hostel authorities, cooks, cleaners, guards are here with us.”
Another consequence of the pandemic for CBS has been on students appearing for internships and MBA interviews. Due to the nationwide lockdown, many companies and MBA colleges have suspended their
interviews till further notice. CDC contacted the recruiters and the potential leads and pitched them the option of extending work-from-home opportunities to the students so that the internships can be pursued remotely. They are also keeping close contact with the HRs of the companies and ensuring no student misses out on any step of the process.
With an increasing number of cases and reports of the pandemic only growing, the existential crisis often comes to haunt. But what is important for us to understand is that we have the best resources and minds working to protect us at the frontlines. Having the option to stay safely at our homes is a luxury very few can afford, so, in classic CBS fashion, why not make the best of what we have?